Golconda Fort Going Down

Hyderabad, India

Having ascended to the summit of Golconda Fort — the temple at the top of the hill where the Hindu faithful seek the summit of spiritual bliss — we started making our way back down to the lower elevations. The descent was just as epic as the ascent, with a rather different set of sights and sounds.

The steps we stepped on were busily getting a makeover from several women and girls applying what appeared to be multi-colored paint, (orange, red and yellow) but no doubt it was more like chalk, some kind of pigmentation that could be removed readily by rain or a grumbling caretaker. What was the purpose of this kaleidoscopic colorization? We never did learn, but we assume it was a ritual to insure good fortune, symbolizing a brightening of the pathway toward one’s destination. Or something.

Anyway, the path down, like the path up, was full of encounters with folks wanting to take a selfie with us. Additionally, a couple of video journalists also asked us to offer our thoughts on the event for their cameras. This rather took us aback, as we were still trying to digest it all. Perhaps they thought that as outsiders, we could offer some fresh or profound observation. If so, then they and their viewers probably were disappointed. Despite our extensive background in theatre, we fear that we came off as somewhat less than eloquent. Hopefully we didn’t sound totally illiterate.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing we witnessed was a procession (for want of a better word) of what appeared to be a sect of charismatic Hindus who reminded us of a voodoo cult or some such. A couple of fellow were thumping on drums while the cluster of devotees moved in rhythm to the drumming. At the center of the group was a woman who appeared to be a sort of queen bee, and acted almost as if she were in a trance. A couple of times, she smashed coconuts by hurling them to the ground. We really found ourselves wishing for once that we had a guide to explain all of this to us.

As we made our way toward the exit, we saw several groups of people preparing for a big feast that evening. Fires were blazing and cauldrons bubbling. And in a couple of places, poor little goats were being butchered. One fellow deftly yanked the hide off a hanging goat in one fluid motion, as if pulling off a coat. Evidently, vegetarianism was not as big a thing in these parts as it was down in Kerala.

Preparing for a Feast

While we were leaving, most people were just arriving. It was clear that the real party didn’t get started until hours later. And we were curious about what it was going to look like at full blast. But we’d already put in quite a bit of time there, and just didn’t want to stick around that long; for one thing, we’re just not fond of crowds. And we already had a perfectly vibrant memory of the day to carry home with us. So we went on our way.


So many Selfies

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